We had the M. Toulouse Aachen dressage saddle with the Genesis Adjustable Tree system in a field trial for over 30 days, allowing several different riders—from beginner through advanced—use the saddle. The initial glance tended to be one of caution, but that changed dramatically when they rode.
The biggest question surrounded the Genesis Adjustable Tree. The saddle arrives with tools and a two-minute how-to DVD (see video below). The mechanism hidden in the pommel adjusted one click (millimeter) at a time. We changed it from a Thoroughbred build to a wide, flat-withered Quarter Horse in a few minutes.
Although some experts advise caution with adjustable-tree saddles, claiming a pommel-based adjustment can cause the points of the tree to bend/bulge/flex improperly, we had no problems. We learned that’s because the points of the tree adjust as the device widens and narrows the tree.
* Nonexistent; ** Poor; ***Good/Average; ****Excellent; *****Outstanding.
Comments from testers:
“It felt like a saddle I had ridden in for years. Comfortable. My horse was relaxed and happy.”
“It was comfy, and I like its smaller size and ‘sticky’ seat.”
“I particularly liked how the saddle supported correct riding form. Felt like it molded to me. Seat and legs slid into position. Secure but not confined.”
“Saddle felt cushiony and secure (beginner who cantered for the first time in the saddle).”
Most Suitable For: A rider who wants to use the same saddle on different horses or someone who anticipates physical changes in their horse (from aging or muscle development/loss) in the coming years.
Improvements we’d make: Few riders need thigh blocks, so we’d prefer to purchase them separately. The stitch right in front of the dees worries us a bit in terms of longevity.
Bottom Line: We were delighted with this saddle’s feel, looks and price. And, since nearly all horses change physically over time, we think the adjustable tree could help avoid major saddle change.
We prefer this saddle’s adjustable mechanism over the interchangeable gullet system we’ve seen in the past, as there’s no “wrestling” in and out of the gullets and you don’t have to purchase additional gullets. However, you do need to lubricate.
The Toulouse Aachen saddle with Genesis tree system an excellent value for its design and quality. We appreciate the tree’s 10-year warranty against defects www.intecperformancegear.com.